Blister Brand Guide: La Sportiva Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022

La Sportiva is known by many for their climbing and mountaineering shoes, but their “mountain running” shoes have now garnered a similar level of popularity — and with good reason. La Sportiva offers a wide range of trail and mountain running shoes with the unifying characteristics of traction and durability. As a general rule, La Sportiva’s shoes have narrower, lower-volume fits than other brands. This might cause problems for people with wide / high-volume feet, but if Sportivas do fit your foot, they often provide a precise fit. Many of their newer models also seek to address this issue with wider toe boxes and higher-volume fits. La Sportiva’s shoes tend to have higher heel-to-toe drops, but they do offer a few options with drops around 4-6 mm.

Sportiva’s shoes are also often on the stiffer side compared to most shoes from other brands, and many of them are catered toward very rough, off-camber, and challenging terrain. If you generally prioritize precision over high cushion and prefer to run on very technical terrain, many of La Sportiva’s mountain running shoes deserve strong consideration.

Several of La Sportiva’s shoes are also made in a GTX (aka, “Gore-Tex”) version. The GTX versions feature a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, which increases water resistance and decreases breathability.

This breakdown will give a quick overview of each model’s features and intended purpose. It’s organized from most- to least-cushioned.

A note on rubber compounds: La Sportiva uses three different “FriXion” rubber compounds throughout their running lineup. On their European website, they call these three compounds “white,” “red,” & “blue.” Confusingly, on their U.S. website, they list them as “XF 2.0,” “XT 2.0,” & “AT 2.0,” respectively. For clarity’s sake, here’s a brief breakdown of the rubber compounds:

  • FriXion White / FriXion XF 2.0: most grippy, least durable
  • FriXion Red / FriXion XT 2.0: middle ground in terms of grip & durability
  • FriXion Blue / FriXion AT 2.0: least grippy, most durable

Finally, a note on sizing: all of Sportiva’s sizing is in European units. In our experience, La Sportiva trail shoes tend to run a bit small (often a half or full US size), so as always, we advise trying them on before buying.